The Research Centre
Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) is a premier agricultural research institute engaged in basic and strategic research on sorghum and other millets under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
IIMR coordinates and facilitates Millets research at national level through All India Coordinated Research Projects on Millets, Pearl Millet and Small Millets and provides linkages with various national and international agencies.
Sanctioned manpower - 48 scientists in 17 disciplines supported by 41 technical, 21 administrative and 27 supporting staff distributed in its main center at Hyderabad, and the two regional stations at Centre on Rabi Sorghum (CRS), Solapur and Off-Season Nursery, (OSN) Warangal.
- 1958: This institute was first established under the Project on Intensified Research on Cotton, Oilseeds and Millets (PIRCOM) in 1958 and engaged in research on important dryland crops such as sorghum, castor, groundnut, pigeon-pea and cotton as well as sorghum-based cropping systems.
- 1966: Subsequently served as Regional Research Station of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi from 1966.
- 1970: During January 1970, it became the main unit of All India Coordinated Sorghum Improvement Project (AICSIP).
- 1987: The National Research Centre for Sorghum (NRCS) was established on November 16, 1987 to further strengthen the basic and strategic research activities encompassing rabi sorghum productivity, sustainability of production, product utilization, and profitability.
- 1991: In order to meet these goals, a regional rabi sorghum research centre Viz., Centre on Rabi Sorghum was also established on October 1, 1991 at Solapur, Maharashtra to strengthen rabi sorghum research in the core habitat of central and southern Maharashtra and Northern Karnataka.
- 1995: In addition, an Off-Season Nursery (OSN) centre was established in 1995 at Warangal, Telangana, primarily to facilitate multiplication of sorghum breeding lines during off-season.
- 2009: The National Research Centre for Sorghum (NRCS) was elevated as The Directorate of Sorghum Research (DSR) in 2009.
- 2014: The Directorate of Sorghum Research was upgraded to the status of Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) during 2014.
Mandate of IIMR
- Basic and strategic research to increase productivity of millets and their diversified utilization for enhancement of profitability.
- Coordination and development of improved crop production and protection technologies of millets.
- Training and consultancy on millet production and utilization.
- Dissemination of technologies and capacity building.
The envisaged primary mission is "to promote economic growth by generating and disseminating ready-to-use technologies which create markets, respond to current and future economic demands, and maintain the long-term sustainability of the agricultural resource base.” The major output of the strategy is coherent with focused research programmes by IIMR (ICAR) which not only targets technologies that respond to economic opportunities but also link producers to markets and make optimal use of existing technologies and technology providers. Through the goals and objectives of All-India coordinated sorghum, pearl millet and small millets improvement programmes under one umbrella of IIMR, it hopes to lead the way in adoption of the new strategy by applying revised criteria in prioritization of programmes and the specific activities under them, by helping the National Agricultural Research Systems to create strong linkages with producers, processors and markets of agricultural produce, and by working with other sister institutes to improve their capacity to carry out agricultural policy analysis and apply this analysis to influencing change in policies that negatively affect Millets production and productivity. IIMR believes that food security objectives can best be met by stimulating growth in market-oriented production systems which should generate additional cash resources for small holders and increase off-farm employment for rural and urban poor and also develop and capitalize on avenues for value addition and exports.
Our Vision is: “Transforming millets cultivation from subsistence farming to globally competitive through cost-effective and environment friendly production, processing and value addition technologies and supply chain networks”. The focus of our targeted outputs on a given timeline is in tune with the stated vision that could yield the expected gains in terms of enhanced production and stability of millets under low to moderate-rainfall situations, increased resistance to drought and other environmental stresses to address the climate change, diversification of the genetic base including hybrid cytoplasm, grainmold and leaf disease resistance, headbug, midge, stemborer and shootfly, grain quality and acid and saline-soil adaptability in sorghum; and yield improvement, drought tolerance and downey mildew, rust and ergot resistance and value addition in pearl Millet; and Yield enhancement technologies and blast resistance, including exploring possibility of developing hybrids in finger millet and other small millets; including low and high temperature tolerance in millets. While grain production is the main focus, forage and stover uses and quality are also of equal priority. National priorities, networks and international linkages, support and technology exchange will be integrated in the research agenda.
For accomplishing envisaged objectives following strategic goals are highly relevant:
- Enhancing and sustaining Millets productivity and global competitiveness.
- Improving the end-product quality and cost-effectiveness of Millet production systems.
- Improving use-efficiency of natural resources and purchased input.
- Reducing avoidable yield losses to stabilize yield gains without impairing the environmental quality.
- Making Millets farming highly remunerative under a range of agro-ecologies.
- Effective transfer and implementation of improved technologies.
- Promotion of Millets as health-food, and as industrial raw material for potable and industrial alcohol, starch, and their products including those from the stalks.
- Better utilization of stover by increasing its quality, processing and storage.
Significant Achievements in Sorghum Research / Research highlights
- All together 35 Sorghum Hybrids; 32 Sorghum Varieties released through AICRP system including 1 sweet sorghum Hybrid, 2 sweet sorghum varieties and 3 single-cut forage varieties; and 2 multi – cut hybrids besides about 175 state varieties released through various SAUs.
- The substantial impact has been made through the development of new hybrids and varieties, and improved production technologies to increase kharif and rabi sorghum productivity by 93.0%, and rabi production by 80% respectively.
- Sustainable production, protection, processing and seed technologies across cropping systems and agro-ecological zones for enhanced production and utilization of sorghum in food, feed, fodder and biofuel sectors.
- Up-scaled value addition protocols through pilot studies for use of kharif grain in non-food sector, particularly feed, starch production and potable or industrial alcohol; and sweet stalked sorghum in the production of syrup and ethanol.
- New DNA markers have been developed and marker-assisted selection for evolving new cultivars resistant to drought, shoot fly, and other stresses is being practiced.
- Transgenic sorghum lines resistant to stem borer, drought and salinity are in pipeline.
- Quality of grain and fodder are being improved using transgenic and marker approaches.
- Wide hybridization and allele mining have been initiated to incorporate novel traits in new cultivars.
- To prevent the contamination of sorghum grains by mycotoxins, new technologies are being developed.
- Genetic resource management
- Crop improvement for increased productivity
- Genetic enhancement for high biomass per unit time
- Mitigating adverse effects of climate change
- Development of crop production technologies for increased input efficiency
- Abiotic stress management
- Biotic stress management
- Seed science and technology
- Value addition for commercialization
- Functional foods and basic studies